Cities aid one another with reverse flow project
Situated on the banks of the Maumee River in northwest Ohio, Napoleon owns and operates its own surface water treatment plant. The river provides a virtually limitless supply of raw water to the city, but it also presents a problem: Each year, the river is contaminated by agricultural runoff. As a result, the city’s finished drinking water periodically has had high nitrate levels, prompting the city to issue advisories to its 9,300 residents.
Ten miles north, the 7,100 residents of Wauseon face a different problem: The water provided by its surface water treatment plant is not enough to sustain the community during times of drought. (Wauseon collects water in two roadside ditches and stores it in two above-ground reservoirs.)
With construction of dual-purpose, 24-inch water main joining their treatment facilities, the two cities have overcome their long-standing water problems. The $4.3 million project, completed last year, allows each city to supply its neighbor with high-quality raw water throughout the year.
Designed by Toledo, Ohio-based Finkbeiner, Pettis & Strout, the pipeline extends 50,000 lineal feet across Henry and Fulton counties, home to Napoleon and Wauseon, respectively. Each day, Napoleon pumps raw water from the river to Wauseon reservoirs, eliminating the potential for a water shortage in Wauseon. In the spring and early summer, when nitrate levels in the river exceed allowable standards, Napoleon stops pumping; the flow in the water main is reversed, sending clean, settled, raw water from Wauseon back to Napoleon.
As part of the project, Wauseon constructed or upgraded inlet, outlet and overflow structures in its reservoirs to allow plant operators to fill and draw from the reservoirs as needed. At the same time, Napoleon installed a 3,500 gpm pump at its intake facility to convey raw water to Wauseon. Both cities installed new pipes and valves at their facilities to accommodate the reverse flow. (The flow from Wauseon to Napoleon is accomplished with gravity, but Wauseon maintains two pump stations for emergency backup.)
The Wauseon to Napoleon Raw Water Supply Improvements project was many years in the making. In addition to creating a cooperative agreement, the cities worked with the design consultant to obtain planning and design approvals from local governments, local utilities, state regulatory agencies and private property owners.
Napoleon paid $1 million of the project’s capital costs, while Wauseon paid the difference, with local funds. Over the next 25 years, Napoleon will assume the costs associated with pumping one million gallons of water per day to Wauseon.